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Mnangagwa in high level talks with South Korea's Yoon Suk Yeol

by Staff reporter
03 Jun 2024 at 02:56hrs | Views
President Mnangagwa arrived yesterday for the inaugural South Korea-Africa Summit and is set to engage in high-level talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol today, as Zimbabwe continues its engagement and re-engagement efforts.

Accompanying President Mnangagwa at the meeting will be Finance, Economic Development, and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr. Fredrick Shava, and Zimbabwe's Ambassador to South Korea, Mr. Stewart Nyakotyo.

The summit, themed "The Future We Make Together: Shared Growth, Sustainability, and Solidarity," will run from tomorrow until Wednesday. During the summit, the Zimbabwean delegation is expected to sign agreements with their South Korean counterparts.

The delegation has already made strides, with Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Shava signing an air services cooperation agreement with South Korean counterpart Mr. Cho Tae-Yul. This agreement is set to play a vital role in shaping international aviation policy and fostering cooperation between Zimbabwe and South Korea.

During the signing ceremony, Dr. Shava noted that this year marks the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

"We need to strengthen our relations by focusing more on business-to-business relations, bilateral trade, and economic cooperation. I am optimistic that signing the Memorandum of Understanding on trade and investment promotion between our ministries will enhance cooperation in the trade sector," Dr. Shava stated.

Dr. Shava also expressed gratitude for South Korea's technical support and scholarships, which complement Zimbabwe's efforts to enhance human capital development in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1). He appreciated the support from the Korea Programme on International Agriculture (KOPIA) in boosting agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe. He highlighted Zimbabwe's participation in the Korea Rice Belt Initiative, which aims to increase rice production for food security and nutrition, potentially reducing the country's rice import bill.

Before COVID-19, Zimbabwe received over 20,000 tourists from South Korea annually, a number that has since dropped to around 2,000. Dr. Shava thanked his South Korean counterpart for efforts to encourage Korean tourists to visit Zimbabwe, home to attractions like Victoria Falls, the Great Zimbabwe Monuments, the Eastern Highlands, and renowned safaris.

"Zimbabwe is open for business and welcomes the Korean business community to explore investment opportunities. The BIPPA agreement between Zimbabwe and Korea, effective since April 2021, should boost Korean investor confidence. Our government has also implemented Ease of Doing Business reforms to make Zimbabwe a competitive investment destination. To fully unlock our potential, we need the removal of all sanctions imposed on us. I hope you can support our call for lifting these sanctions," Dr. Shava said.

Dr. Shava invited South Korea to collaborate with Zimbabwe in exploiting its abundant natural resources, leveraging Korean technology. He highlighted opportunities in the mining sector, including lithium, diamonds, gold, and iron ore.

"South Korea's expertise in developing industrialized rural villages and smart cities is of interest to us. We would welcome collaboration in modernizing 35,000 villages and building new smart cities," he added.

Dr. Shava expressed a desire to tap into Korea's information technology expertise, seeking capacity-building support in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, e-commerce, and e-governance. He proposed establishing a Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC) to enhance cooperation in various areas.

Lastly, Dr. Shava requested that South Korea classify Zimbabwe as an English-speaking country to enable teaching English in South Korea, noting that English is an official language in Zimbabwe and the primary medium of instruction at all educational levels.

Source - the herald